6 tips to hit your movement goals during winter

Fitness & Sports Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Jan 4, 2024

Many of us love to get outside in the warm summer months of the year. But it's natural to feel a bit hesitant about staying active during the winter—when it’s much colder outside and the days are shorter.

Moving your body and getting regular exercise are key pillars of health and well-being. Whether you’re a beginner looking to start on a new fitness journey or a seasoned athlete who wants to keep up with their goals, you can navigate the winter months and set yourself up for success throughout the year.

Tips for winter workouts and activities

From adjusting your workout routine to bundling up against the chilly weather, discover six tips on how to hit your movement goals during the winter months.

1. Try out indoor workouts

It may seem obvious, but you don’t need to head outdoors to move your body. Embrace the warmth of your living room or local gym. High-intensity interval training, yoga or even a dance workout can keep you energized and motivated. There are plenty of indoor exercise options to try without leaving the house through apps or social media channels, which means there is no need to venture into the cold to hit your goals.

2. Bundle up for the great outdoors

If you’re set on working out outside, invest in some cold-weather gear—thermal layers, moisture-wicking fabrics and a cozy hat—to keep yourself wrapped up in the chilly temperatures. You’ll find that you quickly warm up if you’re on a brisk walk or run, so layering is important. If you’re partaking in winter sports like hockey, skiing or ice skating, they all have dedicated equipment to wear while out in the elements, like helmets or goggles. Take the time to stock up on the essentials so you can protect yourself while moving around outside.

3. Set realistic movement goals

Winter can bring its own set of challenges, and that's okay. You can adjust your fitness goals to align with the season. Maybe it's about maintaining your current level of fitness or exploring new activities that you can enjoy instead of your useful training routine. Setting realistic goals ensures you stay focused and small, healthy habits can have a significant impact on your health and well-being.

4. Make sure to warm-up and cool down

Cold muscles need a little extra love. Prioritize a thorough warm-up before starting your workout to prevent injuries and keep your body in good shape. Set aside a few minutes before exercising to do some lunges, squats or jumping jacks. And don't forget to cool down and stretch afterward to keep those muscles happy and flexible.

5. Hydrate and nourish your body

In the colder months, it's easy to forget about hydration. But staying well-hydrated is crucial for optimal performance and is so important when you’re exercising each day. The National Academy of Medicine and the Institute of Medicine suggest everyone drink between nine and 13 glasses of water per day.

Additionally, nourish your body with seasonal, nutrient-rich foods. Think soups, stews and protein-packed meals to fuel your winter workouts, as well as simple, healthy snacks like bananas to keep you going throughout the day.

6. Mix up your winter exercise routine

Keep things interesting by trying new activities. From winter hiking to indoor rock climbing, variety is key to staying on track with your fitness routine. Experimenting with different exercises not only challenges your body but also keeps you excited about staying active. Not able to go for your normal outdoor run? See it as an opportunity to try something new, like a Pilates or yoga class.

Winter is not necessarily a fitness roadblock. With a positive mindset, you can achieve your movement goals no matter the season.

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